tv Charlie Rose PBS May 11, 2017 3:59pm-5:00pm PDT
>> charlie: welcome to the program. we begin with continuing coverage of james commey and the aftermath of his first from president trump jeyesterday. >> is there a slight chance some aspects of an investigation can be affected? potentially, yes. but i have full faith and confidence of the individuals in the fbi now they're full steam ahead on a lot of these investigations. not just this investigation but a number of them. this in particular is moving forward. i find it strange. we're missing a lot of facts but i find it strange. frequently in the fbi we don't go over in extreme circumstances you ask for more. the fbi has a $10 billion budget and 36,000 employees and funds
and resources are shifted around to actually enhance an investigation if it needs more resources. >> charlie: we conclude with an interesting conversation on acting with actor james spader. >> i don't think i'd be comfortable with all in a straight dramatic role or comedic role. i like dichotomy in a character. i like irreverence. i look for dichotomy in characters and conflict. and i also have never been very good at -- i like playing the provocateur in a film. >> charlie: all about comey and spader when we continue. funding for "charlie rose" is provided by the following.
>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: we begin this evening with our continuing coverage of fbi director james comey fired yesterday by president trump. the dramatic news precipitated calls for an independent investigation into ties between russia and the trump campaign. a depend of justice memo cited comey's handling of the clinton probe as the reason. when asked for a reason president trump gave a simple
explanation. >> why did you fire director comey? >> he wasn't doing a good job. he was not doing a good job. >> charlie: joining me now from windshield bob woodward of "the washington post" and dan balz and michael sheer white house correspondent for "the new york times" and tim murphy former fbi director and fran townsend who served a served as counterterrorism adviser to george w. bush. michae michae michael shear, what has been added to the story today? >> one is we discovered today that just days before his firing, jim comey the director of the fbi requested additional resources to conduct the sprawling investigation into russia meddling in the u.s. election and possible contacts with trump advisors.
that generated additional intensity behind the democratic calls for an independent prosecutor. them raising the question among democrats and other critics as to whether or not it provided one more motivation or one more reason for president trump to fire the fbi director. suggesting perhaps he was trying to stall or delay or hamper the investigation. that's where we are today. we know what happened, the director got fired. we really don't know is why. we have the white house explanation, he wasn't doing a good job and it was about the hilary e-mails but there's not a lot people in washington who fully believe that. even some republicans who issued calls if not for an independent prosecutor or council at least for a fuller explanation from the white house as to why the sudden firing took place. >> charlie: dan balz, are those the question you're asking? >> we're asking the same question.
the problem the administration has had is coming up with a consistent and coherent explanation of what led to the firing. was it the memorandum produced by the attorney general that laid out the bill of particulars for how he feels comey mishandled the hillary clinton investigation. or was it as the president said he wasn't doing a good job, quote, unquote, which suggests there's something going on since the president has come to office that has concerned the president. they've not been able to get a clear and straight explanation of what led to the firing. i think that's continued to keep the focus and pressure on them to do so. >> charlie: bob woodward, many make comparisons to watergate and the saturday night massacre. no better than you to compare them. >> it's the same and different. the investigator, the person doing the real investigation,
fbi director comey is out. at the same time in the saturday night massacre in 1973 ages ago it was at a point when there were charges john dean, nixon's counsel on the record and four days of public testimony at the watergate hearings and the existence of the secret taping system and there was a path to seeing whether what dean was true or not. there's lots of surmise, lots of questions about the trump campaign and the russian connection. there's not to the sort of evidence that existed in the watergate case. what's interesting here and i think very important it removes
comey and he of course last year in the campaign put himself out as the one who was going to make the judgments on the hillary clinton e-mail investigation so he's got a lot of stature. he's gone. his replacement, whoever it is will be somebody trump picks. somebody probably approved by the attorney general sessions and they'll now have much more control of where the investigation goes. they haven't ended it but diluting it. >> charlie: so they can change the outcome. >> who they put up depends on how much the deputy attorney general who is now allegedly in charge of all of this.
how he asserts himself. what the depth and intensity of the inquiry is. under comey it was going gangbusters and was recently seeking more resources for the fbi to do this. do we know how much more money and was there a bill of particulars and what was known. that would add a lot. >> tim murphy. how will the fbi be affected by this? >> makes a good point but a number of executives were coming up the rank when i was in the fbi. is there a slight chance some aspects of an investigation be
affected? potentially, yes, but i have full confidence in the individuals in the fbi they're full-steam ahead. this in particular is moving forward. i find it strange. we're missing a lot of facts but i find it strange, frequently in the fbi we don't go over. in extreme circumstances ask for more resources in an investigation. usually that's done internally. it has a $10 billion budget and 36,000 employees and usually funds and resources are shifted around to enhance an investigation if it needs more resources. the reason you may go ask the department of justice to have more career attorney put on it. we have to get through the fact. it was a shot clock to the fbi and employees. the interim staff there and director and the rest of the
staff in the executive level will march forward as they have done for the last 20, 30, 40 years working the investigation. i'm not as concerned it has an effect on the investigation. i will agree with bob it depends on who the director of the fbi and who is nominate and confirmed and take the position. >> charlie: i'll come back to that. president trump tweeted today he lost the confidence of the fbi. >> people liked comey. he's smart. he's ethical. he's a good speaker and a good leader. i think on a personal level he was admired by many but almost uniformly, take the political figures out of this, the men and women at various rank of the fbi were horrified in the way comey handled the press conference for
the hillary clinton e-mail investigation and later several days before the election the re-opening of it. it pulled the bureau into a political malstrom they don't want to find themselves in and there ways great deal of uncomfort they found themselves in and frankly resentment. >> charlie: does that match what you know? >> it was so public and so transparent unprecedented in the way fbi's handled investigations. it appears that's what the dag in the attorney general and president relied on as the basis for this. he took care of the employees and the fbi morale was good and if you build up the emotional bank account like he did the first few years or the they
didn't like how he handle it is extreme independence and transparency in that position doesn't wholly work. standing alone trying to be extremely independent and transparent came back to hurt him. >> charlie: dan, let me go back to the original question and anybody jump in now. do you believe the focus because of this firing on the russian probe will heat up for reporters and investigators, for everybody now will we see more focus on that? >> it depends on what the senate committee is doing and other
signs of intensification of it within the fbi and what they're doing. what we have seen is there's an ebb and flow and it spikes at certain moments as new evidence comes out whether it has to do with the former national security adviser michael flynn and then receives a little bit and more comes out. i think people realize this is a constant thorn in the side of the white house and irritates the president. though he praised comey in announcing a re-opening of the investigation into the independent just have gnawed at him but there's going to be
tremendous infection on this and there's nervousness on capitol hill even among republicans who have mostly defended the president for the firing of comey. we'll have to see how this unfolds. the calls for a special prosecutor from the democratic side intensified again. we're not at the point where that is likely but another couple events or revelations could bring that about. >> charlie: could they demand before they confirm a new fbi director there's a commitment to a special prosecutor or something like that? >> they could try to do that. that would depend on how much unity there is on the republican side. the next director could be confirmed on a party line vote if the republicans are all in
line. but if have you defectors the democrats could hold it up. the other thing that happened today is there's a number of democrats including senator warner who is the ranking democrat on the intelligence committee said they would not at this point have confidence in the deputy attorney general appointing a special prosecutor. it ought to be handed to a senior career person because of what's happened over the firing. >> the confirmation hearings for a new fbi director can't really be used for leverage in the senate to get some guarantee the independent council special prosecutor would be appointed. as a scandal was breaking open and the senate made him promise
to appoint a special prosecutor. he did that. that led to the appointment of archibald cox who nixon hated. when cox was coming after the tapes he fired him. the leverage points are not gone but they are substantially reduced. i think the summation of all of this is that we've seen a rather, if you will, skillful or powerful example of executive branch muscle. trump's the boss. he said the fbi director's gone. that's it. it's' new world and tim is suggesting the agents will be fine and doing their work as
everyone knows and he the most, a lot of these investigations can be controlled from the top they have to approve doing interviews. they have to approve what possible law violations their examining. that is going to be handled by the justice department. the expectation should not be large there are going to be serious revelations at this point through that channel the fbi. >> on the question of leverage and a nomination, democrats who want to hold up the fbi director are playing with fire in the sense the fbi director is a key national security officials that responds to terror and have to worry about the blow back if they're holding up a key national security official. that's one thing. the other thing we have to think
about is the disconnect that is likely -- i can't get inside the president's brain but the likelihood is that he expects or expected that by firing comey will make the russia investigation go away or become less of a political problem for him, if folks are right and the investigation actually does continue either because of the career folks at the department, the bureau or also just the intensity around the issue, president trump is going to be ever more so frustrated. the acts he took will not have resulted up what he wanted to have happen. that will result in more tweets. more calling the investigation fake or phony or a hoax or a waste of taxpayer money as he did this week. i think what we're likely to see is not only the intensification of the investigation and of the reaction inside the white house.
he'll get more and more frustrated as this drags on and on. >> you have a hundred-year old organization and the same people working the russian investigation working it yesterday morning are working it this morning. you have subpoenas. in some respect the firing -- i don't want to underestimate the strength and power of jim comey but in some respect the firing of jim comey puts greater fire in the belly of the career agents and prosecutors without fear of favor to follow this thing. you also have two congressional oversight committees and have bob woodward and dan balz out there and if you think they're
being influenced inappropriately between congress and journalists you'll hear about it. >> as you know, fran, they can't freelance. there say very rigorous process in the fbi to go down certain channels of investigation. to interview key people particularly close to trump. if you look at the watergate investigation 45 years ago it was controlled and manipulated sometimes wittingly and sometimes unwittingly by the fbi and didn't do the job that should be done. if you don't have somebody at the top leading. like any organization or news
organization or cabinet office or department if you have somebody saying we're going to get the job done it's the difference between night and day. >> charlie: tim, you can add something to that. >> i can. there's some merit to what bob says as having someone in charge that's there that's truly independent and keeps the agents and organize motivated but it's a different time in the digital world with the social media and the digital trail. it's easier to build cases today than in the past. it's much easier. there's leaks across government organizations into the media. there seems to be a closer connection between media and investigative journalism. bob, i don't disagree but today is a different world than it was then and harder to control people today and influence them
through means you're talking about. i think if you saw that happen today what you saw and discovered you could eventually have another mark south and who will be the journalist today that worked this there's the potential there and people would go sideways if people can't continue the investigation for society. you'd have huge issues. >> charlie: give us a sense how this might tighten. obviously leaks from the fbi or anywhere else in terms of the russian probe for committees and a special prosecutor. how would that happen? >> i think there's two ways. one is through the fbi investigation. we learned they've begun to
issue subpoenas regarding michael flynn. there's obvious various avenues under investigation. as bob said, there's no known concrete evidence of collusion at this point but this is an active investigation. there will almost certainly be more information that leaks out of that. i think that's inevitable. the senate intelligence committee is another focus and locust where there will be i suspect a doubling down. because of what has happened with the firing of director comey and the problems the house intelligence committee has gone through over the last couple months the senate intelligence committee is looked at as the one place that could do a bipartisan investigation. i think there will be every effort made on the part of chairman burr and vice chairman warner to maintain as much as
bipartisanship and intensity of that operation in the absence of a special prosecutor that will be one of the more credible and somewhat public investigations into the whole episode. so i think the pincer movement of what they're doing below the radar and what the senate intelligence committee ask above the radar will keep this in focus. and as mike shear says will continue to frustrate the president immensely. >> charlie: what about the president meeting the russian ambassador. >> it was striking that it was allowed to happen and in the discipline of an obama white house that would not have been allowed to take place in the c n context of everything going on and having scheduled the meeting
it was a closed press event. none of the traditional stuff inside the white house where the white house click a lot of pictures. yet the russians had their official photographer and the russian official photographer was part of the state-run media in russia and immediately printed pick tuesday of a beaming president trump shaking hands with the president and kislyak. you have the spectacle of these photos racing across twitter putting him in the middle of this whole exploding controversy. it was quite strange. >> charlie, if i may quickly say there's one on the record, under
oath declaration by james clapper the director of national intelligence that oversees cia, nsa and fbi on the matters and testified in january will was no evidence of collusion. think it through for a moment. how would anyone the fbi or senate intelligence committee or reporters establish there was collusion after january? it's a hard fence jump. >> charlie: i think he's modified or looked at nuances in that. i think what he said, bob, and i'm not contradicting you, didn't he say i have seen to evidence of collusion? >> that's right. but he was the one who ran the
very detailed report that they said established conclusively with high confidence that russia fiddled -- meddled in the election. he was the guy in charge of that. he's talked about thousand of pieces of intelligence. the key analyst working on this. it doesn't mean there's not something there but at that point in january he made a pretty strong declaration. >> charlie: thank you, bob, thank you, dan, thank you, michael, thank you, tim, thank you fran. it's a pleasure to have you here. >> thank you, charlie. >> charlie: we'll be right back. stay with us. james spader is the emmy-award winning actor.
his films include "pretty in pink" and "trash" and won emmys for "boston legal" here's some of his work. >> talk to me about more than sexy. >> no, you're not. i don't understand. >> get off my car. >> i used to express my feeling nonverbally. >> are you still like that? >> no. >> look at it. you see that? >> what?
there's three typing errors. one of which i believe say spelling error. >> i'm sorry. >> this isn't the first time other. there's others i looked over in the first few weeks. this cannot go on. if mercy truly lives within these walls, within your hearts as justices, as people, you cannot cause this man to be injected for chemicals for the purpose of killing him for a crime he possibly did not commit. he felt it was important you know that. >> will he be unhappy if we lose? >> the money i manager to raise for this endeavor is for your lodging. >> you didn't raise much. >> should we get to work.
>> this is the best i can do. this is exactly what i wanted. all of you against all of me. how can you possibly hope to stop me. >> charlie: he currently stars as the concierge of crime on "the black list." i'm please to have james spader back at the table. what do you say about those performances? >> i don't have much to say about that. they seem almost disconnected for me when i see them like that. it was funny they feel like a distant memory. >> charlie: really? >> mm-hmm. >> charlie: why do you think that is? >> i think it's a question of volume of material. probably more than anything else. i'm working on a television show
now and there's just an enormous amount of material. >> charlie: do you keep working as hard as you do for what reason? >> i wish that i could come up with an answer that felt not as pragmatic as the truth. the truth si work as hard as i do is a two-fold. i work as hard as i do to pay for my life. and the economics of being an actor has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. even more dramatically in the last ten years in that to make a the living that i feel i have to
make to pay for my life. one, i have to work in television. the films i'd be interested in doing the economic model for those films is unsustainable. and unfortunately i built an expensive life. >> charlie: what does that mean, an expensive life? a plane and boat and homes and all that? >> no plane. a small wooden sailboat, homes and travel and family. extended family and so on. one, i have found television is able to finance many other things. for instance, i would not have been able to do lincoln when i
loved doing. i wouldn't have been able to do that if i wasn't working for a year as a guest on the office. a television show. even the avengers was a film i had great fun doing and paid all right but unless it becomes a franchise for one when you're doing one after another of those marvel movies it's not a career. nowadays to a great degree and it's probably the reason for the explosion on television in terms of programming is that writers and directors and actors have migrated to a great degree to pay for the plays and films they might like to do. >> charlie: at the same time you can do very good work on television now. >> very. >> charlie: there's stories oo
television they couldn't tell. >> yes. here's the second part of that question which is one can work in television and not work particularly hard but i just don't know how to do it any other way. that's just the way you know how to do it. >> charlie: in other words you have your own standards? >> i bury myself in the work. it's why when i did films when that's all i did i didn't do many of them. i did as few of them as a possibly could because i just buried myself in it when i was doing it so when i stopped i was relieved and blaglad to have stopped. well, i do the same on the television show but a television joseé different animal than a film. a television show swallows you whole and chews you up and refuses to spit you out so you're in it for quite some
time. and you're paid well for that and that's lovely. you build a relationship with your viewers that really becomes a partnership in an odd way. you must face that as well. there's an understanding between yourself and your viewers and an expectation that one becomes beholden to i think. you do. you don't want to do less than your best because they expect that. >> i think so. i think so. >> charlie: you've been doing this for a long time though. you left home at 17. >> yeah. >> charlie: you said you were going to be an actor. >> i thought it would be fun to be a
detective. i said i'd move to new york and see what happens. one thing led to another and i worked in a string of odd jobs, different manual labor jobs and realized that was not going to be a career for me and making believe and pretending was something i've done since i was a kid and realized i could make a living at it. i continued with it. >> charlie: all without going to acting classes and all that. >> there was a man named blair cutting who taught at a studio here in town. an actress helped form the studio with this man, blair cutting and i studied with him on and off really for the fun of it than anything else. he was great fun. he was a clown and it was great
fun. i studied with him off and on until he died and that was the end of my studying. >> charlie: but you learned a lot. >> i learned to have fun and be fast on my feet and we did a lot of improvisation in the class. i loved that. i learned how to just relax and just continue to play. what i have found is that it takes an enormous amount of work and practice and effort to remind yourself just to do the same thing when you were 7 playing cops and robbers in the back yard. you adopt a lot of baggage. you hold on to a lot of baggage as you grow up and get older which is completely sue
and play cops and robbers. >> charlie: if you look at the percentage of things how much is like boston legal and the notion of the unsavory but somehow compelling character? is that 75% of what people want you to do because they see you doing that and say aha? >> i don't think i'd be comfortable in just a straight dramatic or comedic role. i like dichotomy in a character. i like irreverence. i look for dichotomy in characters and conflict. i also have never been very good at -- i like playing a
provocateur in a film or a show of any kind. i was offered a broadway play and i play a provocateur in that as well. >> charlie: more of a chance to -- >> sort of. i think i spent a long time -- it's evident from looking at the club we -- clips i spent my career growing into myself and the character and actor i wanted to be from the beginning. i didn't look like that particularly when i was young. i played bad guys and i played this and that but i think i eventually grew into what -- link job was a great example. i would have played for months
and months and months. i really loved playing that character. >> charlie: why? >> i liked his company a great deal. >> charlie: you liked being in his skin? >> i did. he had a great lust for life yet he was doing something very important i think he felt was very important and yet he did it with utter irreverence. i think i probably looked for that quality in this show i'm on -- in raymond rington. when one commits to a television vis it's a significant commitment. i lie to myself and tell myself if i can't bear it i can escape somehow but you can't really.
if it's a hit you're in trouble. >> it's been how many years? >> it's the fourth season it's on now. i think i was looking for that and looking for somebody who no matter as dire as things may be he always retains an irreverence and sense of humor and appreciation concern who i find dichotomous in him that somebody who is dealing in the realm between life and death that very narrow, narrow strip between life and death that someone who lives so much of his life in that tiny little trip has such an enormous appreciation for life and has a true sense of the precious nature of life and all
the word has to -- world has to give. >> charlie: every interview i do should inform another interview i do and you should learn something if you pay attention to what you're doing. i assume it's the same with characters. characters teach you about your range and your limits and how to go beyond them? >> interests and curiosities. a good percentage of the films i picked over the years have been about something i'm curious about. in looking for a character to play on television it better be a character that i feel like i'm going to be curious about for a while and therefore some of it you don't. one of the great things about on the black list and the pilot and even i think probably for the first season if not two seasons
and even today is that the story and the world and his life and this character was enigmatic enough i felt i could take a long period of time getting to know him. >> charlie: and for people who have not yet seen "the black list" though it's been on four years explain who he is. >> he's a man in a criminal life for 25 years now. he's been wanted by the fbi and their most wanted list for some time. he's now made it to 21 on the list i think that's where he's at. one day four years ago he surrendered to the fbi a specific person he knew. the assistant direct herald
cooper played by harry lennox and he surrendered himself and said he would make a deal with them where he could continue to live his life and be out and about and so on. he would give them perpetrators on his list. >> charlie: they have a certain respect for each other and certain sense of -- was it more than that in a sense? >> i think that's to a great degree what it's about and to all his people in his sphere of influence. the relationship at the fbi wasn't public knowledge. the fbi as a whole are in fact
still hunting him and he is still on the most wanted list. during the task force he moved up the list to number one. he's still out there. he's committing crimes. >> charlie: and the person who encapsulates the life you do has to be smart. that's part of the attraction. >> it's compelling to all of us about gangsters. >> charlie: especially -- you guys are pretty violent too.
>> yeah, he is. yes. >> charlie: is that good or bad in terms of the sense of the fun of it all? >> i think he's well wear of the cost that comes with that. but he lives in a world that that exists in and would be foolish to think it doesn't. >> charlie: i often ask athletes especially, why do you still do it if they do it beyond a certain time. boxers. i once asked this of sugar ray leonard. why do you do this. and he had made a lot of money and had a group of advisors that saved it for him. he said charlie, it's what i do.
it's what i know. >> i just had a conversation with a great friend of mine today about that very thing because the show had wrapped for the season and up was talking about how i was so happy to just walk in the park and take a nap. we were talking about that very thing. like what does one go on and what drives one to go forward. i say to him and i perhaps was being glib but i said, well, i have to pay my bills. i'll be working until the day i die to pay my bills. >> charlie: because of the lifestyle you like. >> at some point you have to fess up and admit there's another reason why. it's not just to do that but there's something else that a need for that. >> charlie: you like doing something you know you do well and people who you know know you do it well. >> sugar ray leonard can pose the question back to you as
well. >> charlie: and do you have time to read during the season? >> i can read nonfiction during the season. i have trouble reading fiction. just because i'm consuming such an enormous amount of fictional material and i don't tend to be looking for more fictional -- so i tend to read nonfiction during the season. then as soon as i get a break at christmas time or during the summer hiatus or anytime i get a week off i read fiction. >> charlie: take a look at this. this is a clip in which red goes to war with his nemesis. here it is. >> are you familiar with the architect? do you know why? concentric construction.
he built castles within castles. impossible to penetrate. you can reach the outer wall only to be faced with a high inner wall. pity the poor foot soldier who made it that far. the architecture of my organization has risen stone by stone over decades. you can't get inside to hurt me. >> you forget i was buy your side the whole time. i know what is required. were you hurt, were you betrayed, were you killed? i know where the bodies are bureied. >> i'm going to use them and the stories they tell to put you in the ground. >> you've been busy.
>> charlie: so tell me about that scene. >> that's a woman named mr. kaplan who's been associate of his a long long time. she was his cleaner. she would clean up his mess. disposing of bodies and cleaning a crime scene and has for years and years and years and years. they had a terrible falling out. >> charlie: she knows all the secrets. >> and that's an ice hockey rink that has the remains of 86 --
there's 86 bodies she has gone around the country and dug up from different places where she disposed of them and has brought pal those 86 bodies with all of the records that are associated with those different individuals turn them over to the fbi. >> charlie: the possibility of 86 new indictments. >> yes. >> charlie: roll tape. this is where you see red suppressing his love for his body guard and confident >> it's a false assumption. they're indebted to me because i make them a lot of money. they're loyal to me because i've earned it. it's a good business.
at the end of the day it's just business. >> business of what? >> safety, security, health and well being of the ones we love. i only have one friend. you're my friend. i misjudged you in a way that no apology can suffice? i am ashamed of that. >> keep that box and on the day you decide to leave -- >> i'm in the going to leave. >> but you can.
>> charlie: does he want him to leave or not leave? >> no, he's devoted to him. he's a fantastic gentlemen. he retired just in the last year or two years. the first three seasons of our show he was still working as a fireman. >> charlie: and a good actor. >> i can't imagine doing the show without him. he's just -- everything -- our relationship is similar the show. that feeling you get from him is just what he brings to our day. he's with me in every scene.
>> charlie: and your director uses close-ups almost like "60 minutes." >> that came from a discussion when we were shooting the pilot. there was a disagreement between the producers and there was a scene where the character i was playing was in this box and they shot a wide shot and it was a longish scene played by the character of elizabeth keane. he came in slowly but didn't go in any tighter than say waist. the director for the pilot shouted i want to stop there. he said it plays great wide and the producers came over and said, you have to come in for a close shot.
i said why don't you come into here almost uncomfortably close right inside your head. >> charlie: a pleasure to have you. come back. >> i will. >> charlie: james spader. let me give you what we need to know about "black list." it's in its fourth season on nbc. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org